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29th October
2008
written by JHiggins

Ventana Medical is a local Tucson (Oro Valley and Marana that is) success story. The company started here in our valley with automated blood testing equipment. Venatana Medical started by a UofA pathologist 20 years ago and went public in 1996. From FORBESyou can read the saga around the Roche buy out but it amounted to arriving at the right price and Ventana owners and stock holders walking away with A LOT OF MONEY.

I understand a group from TREO and Oro Valley went out to Switzerland to meet with the CEO and incoming management team. I’m sure they will love our valley and Oro Valley in particular. 

It will be curious to see how the Pima County schools compare to the European education system, I would imagine the executives will be bringing families to our region. 

From today’s AZ Daily Star HERE;

The CEO of a global drug company laid out big plans Tuesday for Oro Valley-based Ventana Medical Systems — including an increase in work force by roughly 250 employees over the next year and an expansion of research-and-development facilities.
Roche CEO Severin Schwan

Roche CEO Severin Schwan

Folks, Ventana is a shining example of how it should work;
  • UofA professor and students develop a great technology
  • A company is formed and first stage R&D funding is attained
  • Company goes to market with superior product
  • Company goes public injecting cash to grow and expand.
  • Hundreds of educated workers are hired from UofA and local employment pool
  • Dozens of local feeder small businesses benefit from Ventana’s success
  • 20 years later the company takes a $3 billion buyout and the new company stays in Tucson

I’m not asking for much just a dozen or so more Ventana’s or Hughes/Raytheon’s to diversify our economic base – preferably in a vertical industry like defense or bio medical or solar so we can finally be known for something other than tourism.

The best thing about a Raytheon or Ventana Medical is that they don’t require much support from the government entities. All they want is a pool of educated workers (like thousands of graduate from the UofA each year), a great place to live, a convenient airport (we are so so here),  and if they intend to expand or grow that the local government entities make that process as smooth as possible.

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